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Shelton Mason County Journal
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October 16, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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October 16, 2014
 

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Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014 - Mason County Journal - Page A-15 Aberdeen resident pens new Tomow novel By NATALIE JOHNSON natalie@masoncoun com It has been more than 100 years since John Tornow lived and died deep in the woods of the Wynoochee River Valley, but area residents still can't stop talking about him. Aberdeen resident Bill Lindstrom's new book, "John Tornow: Villain or Victim?" tells the untold story of the man known as the Wildman of the Wy- noochee. "I wanted to make it about people and the people who knew him and have a far different John Tornow than has been written about in books and magazines," said Lindstrom, 72. "I hope I have provided people with enough information on the story ... so they can form an educated opinion for them- selves on what happened." Tornow was killed in a shootout on April 16, 1913, two years after he was accused of killing his two adult nephews. In the 19-month manhunt that followed, Tornow is believed to be responsible for the deaths of four sheriffs deputies. Several histories of Tornow's life and death have been written and published in southwest Washington, in addition to the oral histories passed down from generation to generation in Grays Har- bor and west Mason counties. Lindstrom said his book stands out from the other Tornow histories. "There's a lot more than meets the eye, than what's been publicized," Lind- strom said. Lindstrom's interest in Tornow be- gan in 1986, when, as city editor of the Aberdeen Daily World, he was assigned to write about a man working to buy a tombstone for Tornow's grave. The story struck Lindstrom, and he Journal photo by Natalie Johnson Bill Lindstrom spent 28 years researching the life of hermit and alleged killer John Tornow, His new book, "John Tornow: Villain or Victim?" explores Tornow's history and includes previously unreleased facts about his life. joined in the effort. Cloud also covered the case with a less He never stopped researching the sensational style. story of Tornow's life and the manhunt Lindstrom's historical nonfiction sto- that ended it. ry, structured as a novel, follows Cloud "The more (people) I talked to, the as he investigates the story. more convoluted it became," he said. "They say write what you know," "I saw this wasn't just a story for the Lindstrom said. "I know a little about newspaper -- this is the beginning of a newspapering." book, I just didn't r alize it would take Lindstrom worked in the newspa- me 28 years to finish it." per industry for almost 50 years. He Lindstrom researched Tornow us- retired from the Aberdeen Daily World ing period newspapers, census reports, in 2013. genealogy records, and police and hos- Stories written by Cloud, and others pital records, by Fred Bolt of the Tacoma Times, are : : In Tornow's time, much of the cover- included in their entirety in "John age about his alleged crimes --he was Tornow: Villain or Victim?" The story never charged -- and the manhunt was covered in many newspapers in that followed were given dramatic news Western W&shington, Lindstrom said. coverage, Lindstrom said. "This was not just a small-town Montesano Vidette reporter Dan story," Lindstrom said. BOOK SIGNINGS: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 18, Elma Timberland Library, 1t8 N. First St., Elma 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 25, Shelton Timberland Library, 710W. Alder St. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec, 4 at the McCleary Tim- berland Library, 121 S. Fourth St. 5 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Mason County Historical Museum, 427 W. Railroad Ave. Every character in the book but one is a real person involved in the Tornow story, Lindstrom said. "I didn't want a bland history book," Lindstrom said. "What I wanted was something that would engross people in the story from the time they picked it up to the time they put it down." Some books on Tornow question whether he was guilty of any 0fthe crimes he was accused of. Lindstrom said he doesn't dispute that Tornow killed the men but said he believes the shootings were accidental or in self-defense. Lindstrom debunks some parts of Tornow's life previously thought to be facts. For example, Lindstrom said Tor- now was never committed to a mental institution in O~egon, as his brother Fred said during the manhunt. The book also includes about a dozen conspiracy theories onthe case, he said. "I have my opinions on what I think happened. Nobody knows because nobody was there," he said. "Things might have been a lot different if they had let him live his life in the wild as a hermit." "John Tornow: Villain or Victim?" is published by Xlibris and is available online at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. HIIRSTINE ISLAND NEWS It is difficult for me to be- others have been working on lieve that Thanksgiving is the Harstine Island Commu- a little more than a month nity Hall Centennial Celebra- away. I have to say it again -- tion. Sandy sent in this news aren't those maples with release: the dancing red, orange "The island has and yellow leaves just had a great time this beautiful as they frolic year celebrating our in the crisp fall air? community hall in its Most of us are enjoy- 100th year. As with ing apple cider from last any special event, it week's squeeze. The is now time for the event has become a Centennial Celebra- part of the island, and tion to come to a it is one we all look By MIKE close. This Saturday CALLAGttAN forward to. There was is the time'capsule an added apple press in dedication -- our action this year. Bill and Or- final event. The doors will pha McGloughlin donated an open at 2 p,m. for those of you antique apple press from the interested in viewing the items 1800s. Although the old press going into the time capsule. If is ftm to operate for an apple you miss this viewing, you will or two, it reminds us just how need to wait another 50 years lucky we are to have that thing until the capsule is opened called electricity. Thank you, again. The ceremony will begin Billand Orpha, for your dona- at 3 p.m. and will close with a tion. performance by the Harstine For the pastthree years, Island choir. Many of the clubs Sandy Murphy and a host of and i~landers have donated items, including a letter to the future, which will be opened in 2064. The garden area is being redone and, once com- pleted, will house the time cap- sule. Come and join us for this final event and welcome in the beginning of the hall's second 100 years." The last senior lunch for October will include baked chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, rolls and brownies. It will be on the menu for Oct. 29. Serv- ing starts at noon, but come early and visit with friends. Everyone older than 50 and their guests are welcome. Next m0nth' lunch program will include a Thanksgiving dinner. Each winter, the Harstine Island Community Club spon- sors a three-part series of speakers popularly referred to as Inquiring Minds. Normally, the attendees of the November community club meeting vote from a ballot for speakers who come from Humanities Wash- ington's Speaker Bureau. How- ever, deadlines have changed from last year, and organizers need to get their booking done by Oct. 31. Arlen Morris, chair of the committee, is asking anyone who is interested to go to humanities.org look over the speakers' bureau roster and call or email forward choices to her at 432-9712 or arltim2@q. com. They will choose from the requests that come in. Every year, the community club puts on an event to say thanks to everyone on the is- land for their membership and cooperation. This yeads Ock- toberfest was a~ain just spec- tacular. Early in the day, club members were in the kitchen cooking the brats. The bever- ages were placed on ice getting chilled for the crowd. When the doors opened at 5:30 p.m., islanders were there bring- ing potluck dishes that were outstanding. Every chair and table was used to seat the crowd. Although the free beer and brats were great, the real excitement of the night was the introduction of the three Hon- ored Citizens of the Year and the Citizen of the Year. One of the things that made the introductions so fun was that the introducer tried to keep the recipient a mystery until the end. Of course, everyone in the room was trying to guess who it was, and as the introducer read, you could see heads turn and nod as they deciphered the clues. The three Honored Citizens this year were Sharon Zeeben, John Strasburger and Wendy Cobb. And the grand finale, the Citizen o the Year, was Jan Irving. In the next few columns, I will share with you the stories the presenters used to introduce the winners. Mike Callaghan lives on Harstine Island. He can be emailed at sobadog@msn.com. rH[ ~ i! IIii I i i!lll! I